This project reconnected the Muskegon River to 3,645 feet of shoreline and restore 8.6 acres of wetland and native habitat at a historic memorial park and parkway that was established in 1934. Coined “Michigan’s Most Beautiful Mile” as part of the historic West Michigan Pike, the location was a popular tourist destination during the early-mid 1900s. The West Michigan Pike spanned the Lake Michigan coastline from Chicago to the Straits of Mackinaw.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, provided a $2,365,192 grant to the Great Lakes Commission and WMSRDC to implement restoration. Restoration partners included Muskegon County (landowner), Cities of Muskegon and North Muskegon, Muskegon County Veterans Advisory Council, Northside Lions, Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, and Consumers Energy. The project restored fish passage, re-established the hydrologic connection between Muskegon River and the park’s open water lagoons, and provided emergent wetland habitat and native shoreline buffer. Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute completed ecological monitoring for the project.
The relocation of fish and wildlife was completed in 2017 as part of the restoration process.